NYT: Corey Jones, Black Drummer Killed by Police in Florida, Had Gun

The musician, Corey Jones, 31, was shot by a plainclothes officer who had been on the job for six months, Chief Stephen J. Stepp said. Mr. Jones’s handgun was recovered on the ground outside his car; the new box it came in was inside, the chief said.

In a brief news conference Tuesday night, Chief Stepp addressed the swelling questions about how a respected church drummer and housing inspector wound up dead in the middle of the night off Interstate 95, a half-hour from his home. The case, another focused on the shooting of a black man by a police officer, had begun to gain attention on social media, and the department was sharply criticized by a county police union official for not coming forward with facts sooner.

The investigation into the shooting is being conducted by the Palm Beach County sheriff’s office, a different agency, so the chief stressed that his knowledge of the shooting was limited. He offered his condolences to Mr. Jones’s family and said the department had tried to meet with them.

“No matter what the circumstances turn out to be, his is a tragic loss of life that affects us all,” Chief Stepp said.

Mr. Jones was on his way to his home in Lake Worth from playing with his band, Future Prezidents, when his car broke down, his family told the WPBF television station.

About 3:15 a.m., at the southbound exit near PGA Boulevard, Officer Nouman K. Raja stopped to investigate what he thought was an abandoned vehicle on the darkened ramp. The chief said that as Officer Raja stepped out of his vehicle, “he was suddenly confronted by an armed subject.”

He did not say whether Officer Raja identified himself as a police officer. It is not clear whether the two men exchanged words or if Mr. Jones pointed his weapon.

Calling the encounter a “confrontation,” the chief said the officer “discharged his firearm, resulting in the death of Mr. Corey Jones.” He did not say what prompted the officer to fire.

He did not clarify whether Mr. Jones had a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

The chief said the officer’s unmarked vehicle was not equipped with a dashboard camera, and the department does not use body cameras. He said the sheriff’s office asked him not to release public records such as radio transmissions and 911 calls….Read the rest of the article at New York Times

The South Florida Sun Sentinel (10/20, 651K) reports police said Jones “bought a gun just three days before his death.”

http://launch.newsinc.com/?type=VideoPlayer/Single&widgetId=1&trackingGroup=69016&siteSection=nydailynews-news&videoId=29832795The Palm Beach (FL) Post (10/20, 497K) reports Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-FL) said he “is ‘deeply concerned’” by the incident. The New York Daily News (10/21, Silverstein, 3.75M) reports that John Kazanjian of the Palm Beach County Police Benevolent Association “scolded the department for keeping mum on what led to the death.” He said, “We don’t want another Ferguson. They need to get out there and address the public.” (AAJ)


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